Why It Might Be Time To Ditch The Foundation - The Gloss Magazine

Why It Might Be Time To Ditch The Foundation

Going foundation-free is in for skin this season, says Sarah Halliwell …

There’s an empty space in my make-up bag. I have samples of the newest foundations at my fingertips, but find I’m avoiding them, in favour of liquid illuminator and some concealer, instead. And I’m not the only one. There’s a low-key, fresh approach to skin this season that suits those who favour a BeReal mentality (the App that celebrates unfiltered, instant snapshots, rather than prepped, edited selfies). We’re seeing a pull-back: for our recent fashion shoot, Dearbhla Keenan of Sugar Culture used a “bare look tint” and blush rather than traditional base. 

Luna by Lisa Airbrush, €24. 

During Covid, colour cosmetics took a dive and we learned to look after our skin better. Consultant Dermatologist Professor Caitriona Ryan welcomes the trend: The younger generation are investing in optimising their skin health rather than expensive make-up. Our patients are focusing on scientifically-driven skincare regimens to improve their skin quality, and courses of IPL to reduce ruddiness or pigmentation, so that they no longer need to camouflage uneven tone and can go bare-faced into the world.”


Make-up artist Christine Lucignano agrees. “I’ve always believed that 70 per cent skincare focus means you only need to drape the face with 30 per cent colour. The canvas is only as good as the skincare you prep it with. And the new generation of skincare-minded colour products really depend on us focusing more time and attention on our skin’s health.”

Chanel water-fresh complexion touch, €70. 

The focus has been shifting onto radiance over “perfection” for some time. We’re learning, as Lucignano stresses, that one shade of foundation over the whole face can be flattening: “The face is not one tone – so that automatically makes your face look masked.” In contrast, Chanel has been working with light, water-based formulas containing droplets of pigment since 2019; their Water-Fresh Complexion Touch is “halfway between a foundation and a concealer”. Luna by Lisa’s Airbrush primer/highlighter and Tilbury’s Wonderglow also champion glow over coverage.  

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer, €49.

Going foundation-free reveals a certain confidence (or else indifference) – though it shouldn’t feel “brave” to bare your own face. Foundation can become a weighted blanket, comforting but hard to relinquish. Feeling comfortable in your own skin can be elusive at times. In No7 research, 72 per cent of 7,000 menopause-age women were unhappy with the current state of their skin.

Sometimes all you want is your Double Wear. For many, it is non-negotiable. “I never get out of bed, never mind leave the house, without applying my foundation,” says Ryan. “It has become part of who I am. And foundation can be helpful: it provides an additional physical barrier against pollutants and free radical damage. Iron oxides in foundation help block visible light, which can cause pigmentation, and break down collagen production. Many foundations also contain sunscreen which, to me, is the most important component of any skincare regimen. Choose oil-free or non-comedogenic formulas to avoid congestion/breakouts, and don’t forget to double-cleanse in the evening.”

As we head to meetings and events this spring, we want to feel pulled-together. Try a halfway house: put a drop on the back of your hand first, rather than applying directly to skin – you’ll use less – and apply only where you really need it. Rather than “build up” coverage, enhance with subtle skin glosses and highlighters to reflect flattering light. Or ditch entirely and use balmy highlighters, such as Westman Atelier Lit Up, for instant glow-to-go. Soft blush, minimal concealer and a light touch with bronzer all boost glow and brightness. The bottom line? It’s still skincare first.

Westman atelier skin tint Vital Skincare Complexion Drops, €58.



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